Our football writer takes a look at Euro 2016 Group F which features an exciting Austrian side.
Europe's Premier International football tournament gets underway on Friday the 10th of June. Football fans will be in for an absolute treat with Europe's finest 16 sides going all out to be crowned champions of the continent.
Our European football scribe has been hard at work composing his preview. After weeks of intense research, he has come up with a full preview for each group.
Below, we'll take a look at Group D below which features Austria, Hungary, Iceland, and Portugal.
Austria | Hungary | Iceland | Portugal
Tuesday 14 June: Austria vs Hungary / Portugal vs Iceland
Saturday 18 June: Iceland vs Hungary / Portugal vs Austria
Wednesday 22 June: Hungary vs Portugal / Iceland vs Austria
AustriaTo Win Outright: 500/1 | To Win Group: 25/1
Coach Marcel Koller has managed to assemble a powerful Austria side and has engendered a sense of national pride in the side. There is a strong Premier League influence in the squad with four players currently plying their trade in England.
Sebastian Prodl and Kevin Wimmer form a powerful central defensive partnership while Leicester City’s Christian Fuchs will provide his stalwart presence in the left full-back position.
Marko Arnautovic provides a quasi-Zlatan presence up front for Austria while the tremendously talented David Alaba holds everything together for the side.
Austria will be quite optimistic that they could possibly usurp Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal or at the very least finish in second place.
Key Player: David Alaba
The absurdly versatile Bayern Munich midfielder is the heartbeat of the national side.
Player to Watch: Kevin Wimmer
Though he battled to break the hegemony of the Alderweireld and Jan Verthongen, Wimmer was supreme when selected.
HungaryTo Win Outright: 500/1 | To Win Group: 25/1
Bernd Storck’s side will be aiming to somehow invoke some of the magic of the golden era of Hungarian football that saw them seriously dominate world football in the 50’s. This is the first time that Hungary have qualified for a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.
Captain Balazr Dzsudzsak is a skilful wide player with the ability to get around unsuspecting defences. There is some concern that the likes of Gabor Kirala and Zoltan Gera are being dusted off for the tournament.
There is also journeyman Championship striker Tomas Priskin, which is always a useful commodity to have in tournament football.
Hungary will likely be battling it out with Iceland for that potential third-place berth.
Key Player: Balazr Dzsudzsak
The captain is an exciting winger who could feed the likes of Priskin.
Player to Watch: Laszlo Klenheisler
The talented midfielder could bring some guile to a side more renowned for pure grit and pragmatic gusto.
To Win Outright: 500/1 | To Win Group: 25/1
Iceland are perhaps the biggest surprise package in this year’s tournament. They managed to beat the Netherlands on route to the finals, this despite having a total population of 323,000 people.
Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson is their best player and will look to be the catalyst for the side. Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson will provide an attacking outlet while Gudmundsson and Bjarnason provide the width.
Defenders Ragnar (I’m not lying) Sigurdsson and Kari Arnason give them a surprisingly solid vertebrae.
Nantes’ Sigthursson has had a disappointing season at club level but has still proved effective on international duty. Iceland are just happy to be competing but I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish above Hungary and even challenge the other two sides.
Key Player: Gylfi SigurdssonClearly the best Icelandic player, Sigurdsson never got a fair shake at Tottenham Hotspurs and I believe he could help his side have a surprisingly successful tournament.
Player to Watch: Aron Gunnarson
The Cardiff striker could prove vital in perhaps linking with the talismanic Sigurdsson.
PortugalTo Win Outright: 500/1 | To Win Group: 25/1
Fernando Santos has really tried hard to make Portugal a more polyvalent outfit. They fared well in their friendly against England without CR7, despite being down to ten men through the red dismissal of Bruno Alves.
It is widely expected that Portugal may abandon the 4-3-3 approach long utilized in a favour of a 4-2-2-, with Joao Mario and Adrian Silva playing on the wings. Nani will support Ronaldo as best he can, trying to prevent the star from being isolated.
Carvalho and Moutinho would have to be fearsomely disciplined if this system is to work. Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho form a hard-nosed and super experienced centre-back partnership while Vierinha and Guerreiro occupy the full-back roles.
Portugal have tried to jazz up proceedings with a few new players but still seem stuck in a similar Bermuda Triangle to that of Italy. Luckily they seem to have the easiest group by some way.
Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
One of the world’s premier players, Portugal’s entire tournament - for better or worse - hinges on the great man.
Player to Watch: Joao Mario
The exciting winger is exactly the type of player that Portugal should be investing in.
Who will Progress?
Portugal should be odds on to win this group. But there’s something unconvincing about this current squad. Austria are my bet to top the group while Portugal finish second. I feel that Iceland will finish above lowly Hungary.